Recently, I was invited to participate on a presentation about Alfonsina Storni. Have you heard of her? She was a great argentinian poet with swiss lineage. She was born on Switzerland on may 29, 1892. She achieved recognition for her work while still alive and was honored by the University of Montevideo, with Gabriela Mistral and Juana de Ibarbourou, remarkable poets too.
Storni worked as a teacher and stood out as a young poet in literary circles, was actually the first woman in Argentina who joined this groups, usually established by men. She also worked as a journalist in the Magazine Caras y Caretas of Buenos Aires, where she met Amado Nervo, José Enrique Rodó and José Ingenieros. After a while she had to renounce due to pressure because of her condition of single mother and the fact that she published her first poetry book, La inquietud del rosal, where she speaks openly about this issue. In the meantime, she got a new job as a director of the Marcos Paz school.
With Horacio Quiroga mainteined a close friendship.
She wrote plays, which didn’t receive good critics, and that situation made her depression go worse.
She was able to meet the great Federico García Lorca during his staying in Buenos Aires (between october, 1933 and february, 1934); she even wrote the poem “Retrato de García Lorca”.
She had a surgery because of breast cancer in 1935, which lead to unexpected physical and psychological scars.
Worn-out due to her paranoia and medical treatments, she took her own life in october 25, 1938 in La Perla beach, Mar de Plata, Argentina. She was only 46. Her last poem, “Voy a dormir” (I’m going to sleep), was published on La Nación Journal the next day of her death.
I attach some pictures of the presentation, which was quite interesting and enriching for most people.
The presentation was organized by the Township Library of Trujillo and Alliance Française. I was invited as a poet to talk about Storni poetic work, and professor Orietta Brusa, who tragically died a few days later (may she rest in peace), was invited to talk about her suicide.
I believe this kind of events enrich the community dramatically and invite us to think deeply about women in Literature. No matter what haters say, poets and writers deserve happiness and wellness, let’s fight to accomplish this ideal, let’s fight to empower women, we deserve a chance to shine, to live, to scream.
Finally, I leave you with a few verses of Alfosina that I translated for you:
I’m going to sleep, my nursemaid, put me to bed.
Hold a lamp on my headboard;
a constellation; pick up the one you like;
they are all good; put it down a little bit.
Leave me alone: you hear the broken sprouts…
a light blue foot rocks you from above
and a bird draws beats.
(From her last poem “I’m going to sleep”)